Spring is (sort of) here, and with it a new tune sounding from the Goddard Chapel carillon. The tune for the month of April is “God Is Love”.
It describes the world around us as being full of evidence of God’s love for us, and that the very nature of God is one of love and joy.
The text was written by Thomas R. Taylor (1807-1835). Mr. Taylor felt strongly called to be a Congregational minister. His only service was for six months at a church in Sheffield, England. Poor health forced him to give up his post and become classical tutor of Airedale College (his alma mater), though his health forced him to resign this post also. He died in 1835, aged 27, from tuberculosis. A collection of his writings, entitled Memoirs and Select Remains, was published posthumously in 1836, containing several poems and a few hymns.
The tune was composed by Thomas C. Griggs (1845-1903). He and his mother emigrated from England to Boston in 1856 before moving on to Utah in 1861, where the majority of the Latter-day Saint (LDS/“Mormon”) membership lived. He joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 1866, subsequently becoming its assistant conductor. While working as a missionary in Britain, he was appointed director, but he gave up the position to Ebenezer Beesley, who had been serving in that capacity while Griggs was away. Among his other hymn tunes, Griggs wrote the music for “Gently Raise the Sacred Strain”, which is used to open the Choir’s weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts.
God Is Love
Earth, with her ten thousand flowers,
Air, with all its beams and showers,
Heaven’s infinite expanse,
Sea’s resplendent countenance–
All around and all above
Bear this record: God is love.
Sounds among the vales and hills,
In the woods and by the rills,
Of the breeze and of the bird,
By the gentle murmur stirred–
Sacred songs, beneath, above,
Have one chorus: God is love.
All the hopes that sweetly start
From the fountain of the heart,
All the bliss that ever comes
To our earthly human homes,
All the voices from above
Sweetly whisper: God is love.